In light of the new benefit-in-kind taxes on fleet carbon-dioxide emissions, the Environment Agency has calculated that eight of the top 20 ‘clean’ vehicles available run on gas. The other 12 are a mixture of hybrids and superminis.
LPG-fuelled vehicles have not traditionally been found in the fleet car parks of UK business, but TransportAction, a government-funded organisation is attempting to change companies’ attitudes.
“In 1996 there were only 138 vehicles powered by alternative fuels on the road. In the last five years we have seen a huge increase, with 22,000 ‘clean’ vehicles joining the UK’s roads in 2000,” said Jonathan Murray, TransportAction director at a Driving the Future press conference.
TransportAction’s key proposition is to provide grants to vehicle manufacturers, leasing companies, business fleet managers and even private individuals to have petrol vehicles converted to LPG. Generally, it takes a whole day and £1,700 to convert a car so that it will run on LPG as well as petrol, but TransportAction will give you anything up to £1,500 per conversion.
“People always ask, but there is no catch,” says Murray.
And with LPG costing half the price of petrol, a lower tax burden and substantially reduced emissions, there are some serious savings to be made on even the smallest of fleets’ running costs. TransportAction even provides a cost saving calculator on its website to show fleet managers and FDs exactly how much they could save.
The only stumbling block is the availability of alternative fuels. But TransportAction has so far encouraged BP and Sainsbury’s to install LPG pumps at all new petrol stations. “894 of the 14,000 UK petrol stations now sell LPG and this number is growing,” says Murray.
Moreover, the organisation is making inroads into promoting the large-scale manufacture and lease of alternative fuel vehicles. Any leasing company or manufacturer can now apply to TransportAction for a block grant of up to £250,000 to convert large numbers of vehicles to LPG.
For the register of approved LPG conversion companies and more information on alternative fuels visit www.transportaction.org.uk.